NAAS CHURCHES

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The parish, which is also called St. David's, comprises 5027 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act; the land is of good quality, and, with the exception of some extensive pastures, is chiefly under tillage; the system of agriculture is improved, and the surrounding district is in a high state of cultivation. The environs abound with diversified scenery, and are embellished with several handsome seats, of which the principal are Palmerston, the seat of the Earl of Mayo, an extensive pile of building, with a family chapel attached to it, and situated in a pleasing demesne, the grounds of which are tastefully laid out and kept in excellent order; Oldtown, the family residence of the Very Rev. T. J. Burgh, Dean of Cloyne; Furnace, of E. Beauman, Esq.; and Forenaghts, of the Rev. R. Wolfe.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Kildare, united to the adjoining rectory of Carogh, and in the patronage of the Very Rev. T. J. Burgh; the rectory is appropriate to the funds of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, to provide for the perpetual curacy of Belfast.

The tithes amount to £290. 1. 9., of which £126 is payable to the perpetual curate of Belfast, and the remainder to the vicar. The glebe-house is a very ancient building, and all that remains of one of the numerous castles of Naas; the glebe comprises 33 ¾ acres; and the gross value of the benefice is £300. 15. 1. per annum. The church, for the repair of which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £276, is a neat edifice, in the early English style, with a massive square tower, which was added to it after its erection.

The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; the chapel, dedicated to St. David, is a spacious and handsome edifice, in the early English style, erected by subscription in 1833; adjoining it is a convent for nuns of the order of the Presentation, with a spacious school-room attached. There is a place of worship for Independents. About 270 children are taught in four public schools, of which the parochial school is supported by subscriptions, aided by the vicar; and the Diocesan school, of which the master has a salary of £70, by the bishop and clergy of the diocese. There are ten private schools, in which are about 320 children. There are a dispensary and fever hospital; and an almshouse, originally built by Patrick Lattin, Esq., in 1590, and twice rebuilt by his descendants, who allow the inmates a small annual sum of money. The late General Thomas bequeathed £20 per annum to the poor; and in 1782, Lord Naas bequeathed to the inhabitants a burial-ground, which is subject to burial fees, situated about , half a mile from the town, on the road to Dublin.

The only remains of antiquity are the moat and St. David's Castle, the present glebe-house. Near the old gaol is a modernised house, now a baker's and butcher's shop, which was formerly one of the numerous castles of this place, of which all the others have long since disappeared in the progressive improvements of the town. There are no remains of any of the monasteries, all of which subsisted till the dissolution. The rath, in the centre of the town, is a high conical mount, where the states of Leinster are said to have held their general assemblies; at the foot of it was a religious house, of which only the cemetery is now remaining. About a mile from the town, on the Limerick road, is Jigginstown, a spacious brick mansion, commenced by the unfortunate Earl of Strafford, but never finished, the walls of which and the vaulted cellars, from the excellent quality of the bricks and cement, are still in a very perfect state. Naas gives the title of Baron to the Earl of Mayo.

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